It was reported by Business Insider that in a private dinner on Thursday night, George W. Bush was critical of Donald Trump's recent decision to place further travel restrictions on North Korea. Bush's comments were in response to Donald Trump's recent decision to place additional travel restrictions on North Korea as part of his administration's revised travel ban.
It should be noted, however, that Business Insider provides no name for this anonymous "source," so perhaps the report should be taken with at least a bit of skepticism. Nevertheless, various media outlets have reported on the supposed comments.
The source apparently told Business Insider that Bush suggested that the policy will discourage dissidents and defectors from seeking to flee the country. Rather than prevent people from leaving North Korea, said Bush, the United States needs to encourage such pursuits. He then contrasted North Korea's addition to the travel ban with the North Korean Human Rights Act signed by the former president in 2004. Many believed this law provided support to human-rights groups and dissidents.
The comments apparently came during a question-and-answer session led by Victor Cha, who was Bush's former advisor on North Korea. Cha is also, according to Business Insider, expected to be picked by Donald Trump as the US ambassador to South Korea. Bush was speaking at The Korea Society's annual dinner in New York City with about 400 guests present.
Bush's spokesperson, Freddy Ford, responded that the former president did not criticize the travel ban. Rather, he claimed that Bush discussed “in broader strokes, welcoming and supporting dissidents, as he has for years, and referred to the Bush Institute’s longstanding and ongoing work in that area.”
The Trump administration announced on Sunday that it would add North Korea to a list of countries whose citizens would be barred from entering the United States. Also included on this list were Venezuela and Chad, as well as several countries plagued by Islamic terrorism and a few which consistently defy the goals of the American foreign policy establishment. The eight total countries on the revised travel ban are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
“As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” Trump said in the announcement, according to The Hill.
"North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements," the revised travel restrictions said, according to Business Insider. "The entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended."
President Trump has also begun referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "Rocket Man," a reference to his frequent missile tests, which have greatly escalated tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world.
Headlines were also made last week after President Trump issued crippling new sanctions against the North Korean regime. In particular, Trump signed an executive order specifically targeting North Korea's trading partners. This new sanction order is designed to severely limit the regime's revenue by targeting and sanctioning any individual, company, or business doing business with the North Korean regime.
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